Most of us want to do our bit for the planet and while it’s true that the biggest issues need action by large corporations and governments, there are lots of small changes that you can make in your own day to day life. But we all lead busy lives right? Here’s a quick guide to going green without too much effort.
Take time to become more aware
The first place to start is with awareness. You can start becoming aware in two ways. Firstly, you can monitor your waste by looking at the contents of your garbage. Are you buying too many over-packaged goods? Worse still, are you throwing out too much food? Are you using a lot of disposable paper products? And even worse, are they made from non-recycled paper to begin with?
Calculate what action you can take. Sometimes this can be as painless as changing the size of packaging. For example all those one pound packs of rice with extravagant packaging are easily replaced by getting together with friends and sharing a large catering size sack. This can save money too!
Going green can save you money
The other item to monitor is your bank statement. Check and see if all your monthly outgoings are really necessary. For instance, do you really use that movie / TV show downloading service? Maybe you could use a public library instead of buying books and magazines or borrow from friends. Is your spend on takeaway food a bit excessive? Cut down by planning meals in advance and get motivated to cook by trying new recipes and ingredients.
On the other hand, there are some areas worth spending more on from a green perspective. If you own a car, for example, make sure it is regularly maintained to ensure compliance with clean air emission regulations. Regular maintenance should also ensure good fuel efficiency.
Make use of community resources
Don’t become a hoarder but try not to throw anything out till you have tried repairing it, recycling it or offering it to a charity or Freecycle scheme. One of the best things about the internet is that you can find a home for most unwanted objects. Browse the web for opportunities to de-clutter and pass on unwanted clothes, books and so on. Take your obsolete computer – it may not have anything to offer you anymore but it may well be well good enough for a struggling student to write their essay on.
Recycle anything that will recycle
It can be surprising what value there is in little things. Cell phones for instance. Old, broken orunwanted cellphones contain valuable metals that if not recovered may well leach out of landfill with harmful results. And simply trading these devices in can make you money!
Another small item that can sometimes be recycled are e-cigarettes. The lithium batteries in these devices may be advertised as throwaway products but not recycling them can cause serious damage to the environment. One brand, blu, have their own scheme called blu cycle and recycling which allows users to send back their old products after use. Check out if your e-cigarette brand has a similar scheme.
These may all be small steps, but the road to a sustainable future depends on all of us setting off on the journey together.
Image by kevin dooley used under Creative Commons license.